A big thing that I struggle with in the world of jewelry making is messing too much with my plated brass findings. Plain ol’ brass, no problem. Add the super amazing finishes to them, and I have a hard time committing to actually using them. Sure, I pick them up and fiddle with them, dream a little about what they could be. But taking that next step and actually starting… umm, no. I think it’s because they are #1 so pretty already, and #2 that they cost more, so I want to make sure I use them right, and don’t waste or ruin them.
I. am. a. chicken.
Let’s take my current project as an example.
I ordered what is called a muse package from B’SueBoutiques. This one was focused on the current 2-month challenge, which was using what is called chocolate brass,
mixed with this color palate:
So, I of course procrastinated a bit, but eventually I came up with an idea. It was a pretty decent idea, if I do say so myself. BUT it involved messing with the beautifully plated choxie, which, as I mentioned before, scares the living daylights out of me.
I decided I wanted to play with these flowers:
the little ones for sure. I wanted to start with earrings, and see how it went.
Now, this is going to seem a little silly, but the scary thing I had to do was punch a hole. No joke. (No laughing! Well… maybe a small chuckle. I deserve it.)
It seems like a little thing, that’s not really a big deal, right? Well, here’s the thing… That one, single, itty bitty hole that I had to punch would tell me if these would hang well or not. So if it worked, great. No big deal. BUT WHAT IF IT DIDN’T WORK? Then what? What do I do with this flower that has a random hole on one of the petals?
Now do you see my dilemma?
Yes. I know. It’s still pretty minor in the grand scheme of things. But it stresses me out. I made myself punch the first hole, tossed a jump ring in, and it hung just fine and dandy. So we’re cool. The project can continue!
Well, once that stress was over, it came together fairly quickly. I had more holes to punch, then a dangly doodad to assemble for each. I actually took the time to google methods for creating the dangle, and I’m glad I did. I usually make them look okay, but this was way better, with far less time on trial and error. I don’t make them very often, so I think that’s why it usually takes me so much time. (And time-saving on my end = $ saving on yours!)
And since the earrings went pretty well, I decided to go ahead and make a matching necklace. I don’t do actual sets very often, so this was another small stretch for me on this challenge, which, in my opinion, is part of the point of a challenge.
So. Mission accomplished.
Here’s the finished set:
I’ve had some great feedback so far on this color combination, so let me know if you agree!
As always, thank you for stopping by, taking a look, and supporting me and my fellow artisans. We appreciate you so very much!
PS: I just created a separate Instagram just for B.Accessorized, so be sure to give me a follow!
PPS: My Etsy shop is in vacation mode. I’m hoping to get it back up and running very soon. Facebook is the best place to shop right now. Thanks!
Hello hello! I’ve been gone for a while (again…) but I’m hoping to be back in action regularly for a while to come. The last 6 months or so have been a little on the crazy side. But I THINK most of the crazy is over.
I’m sure you are all on the edge of your seats, wondering what on earth has kept me away. Well, you can sit back and relax, and I’ll tell you. I’ll try to keep it short though.
After the holiday madness, including my best show to date, we had a couple of weeks off. Then, insanity began. We took a 9 day trip to Disney, which included getting snowed in on our way home. About a week after we got back, I had knee surgery. I had fully intended to keep up on blogging, etc., while I recovered. But I didn’t. I binge watched NCIS instead. And napped. There was a lot of napping. It was amazing.
For week 3 of my recovery, my better half had to go out of town for the week, so my Mom came to hang out with me. THAT was amazing. We had so much fun, even doing basically nothing. We played with polymer clay a bit, and might have had a few cups of hot chocolate… I don’t get to hang with my mom very often, so I really enjoyed having her here.
A few weeks later, we had company for Easter.
Then 2 weeks after that, we had more company.
I had a vendor event in there somewhere.
And my in-laws just came for two weeks.
I love having company. I really really do.
However… My workshop is in the guest room closet.
So, as you can imagine, my things have spent a LOT of time packed away over the last several months. I did manage to make some newer pieces, and I also took some time to purge a LOT of stuff. When we moved from Ohio to Iowa, I did an initial purge, but it wasn’t enough. I went from a huge, for-real workshop to a closet. I really needed to scale back. I still have more I could probably get rid of, but for now, I’m just happy to have removed a significant amount of extra stuff I wasn’t using.
This is my pile of sorted stuff that I’m going to sell. BOOM!
This is Frank. He’s “helping”
Now we just have baseball, the summer musical and all the rehearsals that go with it, swimming (at 6:45am. Super fun!!!), athletics camps, a mission trip for one of the kiddos, a family trip to Montana to see my folks (YAY!), and a trip to MSP to babysit my niece and nephews for a week. You know, a nice relaxing summer. There will be as many afternoons at the pool, friends staying over, and fire pit nights as we can manage. Most of the busy stuff is for the soon-to-be 13 year old. The boys have it pretty easy.
So, now I am hoping to get into a bit of a groove, and carve out some dedicated time for working.
I have an event coming up this fall that I have some ideas for. I will be making some fairly specialized pieces that I hope will really go over well. However, it’s my first outdoor event. I’m a bit nervous about it. If any of you out there in cyberspace have any tips for me, or recommendations for a canopy, I am all ears (or is it eyes?)
I’m really sorry I have been missing in action lately. I hope each and every one of you is doing well, and enjoying life. I know I am.
And feel free to nudge me if I’m not keeping up! And tell me what plans you have for the summer. =D
Every month, at the B’SueBoutiques Creative Group on Facebook, we have a themed challenge. It really gets the creative juices flowing. This month, Ms. Brenda added an extra challenge, a prerequisite of participating in this blog hop. In addition to the “Vintage Flair” monthly challenge theme, we were asked to Change It Up. She chose 4 popular large pieces from her site, and we had to choose one (or more) of those pieces, then use it in a unique way.
Well, I have had one of the pieces for a few months, a necktie. I knew it was a super cool piece (that’s why I bought it!), but I wasn’t sure what I wanted to DO with it, so it just sat there. Every so often I would get it out, start to lay out some bits to go with it, and then put it away again because I wasn’t satisfied with what I was coming up with. Well, when this challenge was announced, and I took a peek at the 4 options and saw the tie, I figured it was time to use that amazing piece.
But I couldn’t just decoupage it, add a few things, and call it a day, which is a fairly typical use of this piece (with amazing results!). I had to CHANGE it. And that’s where things get a little scary. I had an idea. (even more scary…) But convincing myself to follow through was kind of tough. If there hadn’t been a deadline, I probably wouldn’t have made myself do it.
I was about to start my project, when I remembered that it wasn’t just “Change it up” but Vintage Flair, too. Shoot. The vintage concept baffles me a bit. So, as most people would, I Googled “vintage flair” and “vintage jewelry” and “vintage flair jewelry” And while those images were kind of helpful, I realized the word “vintage” is used to describe just about everything these days, so it makes it hard to weed through the things that are obviously NOT vintage, and try to find examples that I THINK fit the theme. Another realization I came to, though, is that in a way, everything goes under this kind of heading. There has been SO much variety in styles that nearly everything is encompassed. But, things like crystals, pearls, and filigree seem to be pretty standard. So that kind of gave me a jumping-off point.
Not only was I thinking outside the box as I used this piece, I was stepping pretty far outside my comfort zone in jewelry making in general. I tend to shoot for fairly simple looks. And this necklace does NOT fit into that category… And that’s what made it so fun to create.
So, here we go. I decided to cut up the necktie. *gulp* Yes. Cut it into pieces. Like I said, I almost talked myself out of it. But… *deep breath*
Well, I guess I’m committed now… Might as well make the rest of the cuts.
This is what I ended up with after I let my shears have their way:
I decided to go with a bit of a gypsy style. So I used a “map” that had a reddish color to it, which I thought would work well with the direction (Nice pun, yeah?) I was intending to go.
When I’m working on a collage-y type project, I like to grab a container then browse through all of my supplies and toss everything that has potential into the container. So that’s what I did.
Once I had everything gathered, I started trying things out, putting them on top of the pieces of tie, trying different combinations and orientations. I knew I didn’t want to put very much on each one. I wanted the outline of the tie to still be visible. Then it was just a matter of finding a variety of chain to pull it all together.
I have a hard time photographing this large of a piece on a flat surface, but I gave it a go.
I used quite a few bits from B’SueBoutiques. The pearl chain, some filigree, POP! beads, the flower stamping… And the tie of course.
And my FAVORITE part of the necklace. The Evil Eye pendant. This piece makes me so very happy.
I put it on my mannequin and I think it gives you a really good idea of how it looks ON. I really fell in love with this piece. I’m very pleased with how it turned out.
I opted to leave a few inches of extra chain in the back so it can be worn longer if desired.
I was going for a vintage gypsy style… What do you think? Did I succeed?
So. I have been making jewelry (and other things) for several years now. I have never really been successful at it. Every once in a while, it seems to pick up, and then it falls back down again. Things have gradually increased overall, though, which is great. But I’m really not where I feel I should, or at least COULD, be by now. I am set up in the most supportive way possible, with a husband that keeps pushing and helping me. He has never once questioned whether this was a good idea, even though I have soooo many times over the years. My friends and family are amazing supporters, too. So, really, it’s just me standing in my own way.
I just received an email inviting me to two upcoming events in my new “hometown.” One at the end of the summer, and one this fall. Initially, I was excited. And then I had the “Why bother?” moment. I rarely do well at these events. But… And this is a BIG but… My work has always been a mish-mash of pieces. I’ve never buckled down and focused on one style. And now, thanks in large part to Brenda’s B’SueBoutiques challenge class this winter, I feel like I am moving closer to where I want to be. My pieces still aren’t totally uniform, but they aren’t as all-over-the-place either.
And I’ve been working on removing the excess old pieces that don’t fit what I’m making now. (Have you checked out my clearance event on Facebook?) I really have too much inventory.
Okay, back to the email… I decided that I am going to push myself to list more on Facebook and Etsy (especially Etsy), be more consistent with promotion/social media, and give these events a try. If, after all that, things haven’t improved, I might be calling it quits. *deep breath* It’s not for sure. At the very least, I will re-evaluate what I have done, what worked, what didn’t, and then see where that leaves me. But I need to make big changes. I’m sure I’ll fall off the motivation wagon, as I always seem to, but I’m going to give it my best shot. (feel free to nudge me!)
I have some other projects that I have been neglecting (not to mention the kids and all that jazz) so it’s going to be interesting trying to juggle it all. I am pretty sure the extra stuff going on will be beneficial though. I am always more motivated and organized when I have more going at once. The less busy I am, the less productive.
I participated in a vendor fair this weekend. I knew going in that it was almost all direct sales, so I really had pretty low expectations for the whole thing. I really had two goals, both of which I met. One, the hard one, was to sell enough to AT LEAST make back the vendor fee. And I did. Not by much, but I did. So that’s happy. The other one I knew I would meet, but in some ways was far more important. I was REALLY ambitious with my displays and setup. I made or altered just about everything I put on my table. I had a really great time doing it, but it was a lot of work, and I really wasn’t sure how it would all come together.
But let’s back up. This is where I started. My idea came last summer at our church’s rummage sale. This lattice was there, and some frames. So, for $10, they became mine. I painted them to make them awesome. And so it began…
Then I had to figure out what to put IN the frames. I knew kind of what I wanted, but I needed to figure out how to make it happen. That’s usually the part where I run into to trouble. But it came together. I tried making something 100% from scratch, but it didn’t go well. And then it dawned on me that I HAD something that would work as a mold. *face palm* So I busted out some velvet displays, covered them with foil so I wouldn’t totally destroy the originals, and off I went.
I decoupaged each of them differently, which was a pain and a lot of fun. I’m not totally satisfied with all of them, but they were close enough for the show.
Then it was just a matter of pulling it all together and making it actually WORK.
I put most of it up in the garage to just do a general “does everything stay where I put it?” kind of test. The most unexpected issue involved the frames. You know how no matter what you do, your pictures always hang just a little off? I was totally cool with that because I didn’t want these frames to hang square. Well… these frames did not want to sit all wonky like I wanted them to. They all hung totally straight. I had to tie them so they would be crooked. The ONE thing I was figuring wouldn’t need any extra thought/effort… Oh well. I got it figured out.
Here’s the beginnings of the setup:
Some things just don’t come to light until you actually set up AT the event, in that specific space. And I have to say… overall it worked out how I wanted it. It felt really good to take an idea from beginning to end, and have it come out darn close to what you wanted it to be. There are definitely some kinks that need to be worked out, but they are pretty minor.
So, even though my inventory wasn’t exactly flying off the tables, I still count the event as an overall success. I learned a LOT, and hopefully I’m on the right track for getting my products out there for people to see (and hopefully buy).
PS: Keep an eye on Facebook for a sale coming up! Also… Mother’s Day is coming!
Now that the Build-A-Line Challenge is over, it’s back to life as usual, right? Yeah… No. I’m not sure I would go back even if I could. I feel so much better about the path I am on now. And it’s a path I had been meaning to take for a while. The challenge was really just that final push to really go for it.
So… what did I learn and take away from the whole thing?
The actual concept of what we were doing with this challenge made sense to me. I wasn’t surprised by the expectations or even what Brenda meant by creating a line. Don’t get me wrong… I still learned a lot about creating a line. I definitely am not saying I knew everything about it. I just understood the concept. This class really got down to the nitty and the gritty with it all. I had already decided before this challenge that I needed to narrow down the scope of what I make, and be more focused and consistent. This just gave me the push to actually DO it. I’ve really had to rein in pretty much everything I do, from buying supplies to how I photograph the final products.
What I DID learn about was the rest of it. The stuff I don’t want to have as part of my reality, but it’s really a bigger part than the actual jewelry making itself. It’s the marketing stuff. And really, I kinda knew about that, too, but I was in denial about how important it was. Right now, that part takes as much time as the making side. It drives me crazy. But it’s necessary. Really necessary. So we talked about SEO, photography, packaging, and about a million other topics.
I asked a LOT of questions in our private forums. I’m nosy. I can’t help it. I consider it one of my special gifts. 😉 I figure other people are probably wondering the same things. And I also figure it makes more sense to learn from other people’s mistakes/successes/experiences. Maybe that’s the lazy way? I don’t know, but it makes sense to me to ask. If no one answers, then you move on. If they do, you apply what they tell you, and determine how to use the info (or not, depending) for your own gig.
Probably the biggest thing I learned in the three months of really trying to focus more was that I need to be more intentional when it comes to jewelry making. I need to schedule times for making, photographing, promoting, listing, etc. It’s not easy to find time consistently as a stay-at-home mom. And I’m still at a stage that my kids, husband, and home are still my main focus. That’s just where I’m at in life. But I’m feeling more like I can make Jewelry Making come up a little higher on the list. Now that I’m more focused on what I make, sticking more to one style, it helps simplify the creative process, which makes me more productive. And a whole lot more confident in what I am making, and how likely it is to sell.
So really… I learned a lot in this challenge, but I still have a LONG way to go. One thing I know for sure is that I wouldn’t trade this experience for the world. Brenda, the BALC instructor and owner of B’Sue Boutiques, is so full of knowledge and experience, and it blows me away how generously she shared all of that with us.
It’s here! The big reveal!!! I’m excited to show you all what I have been working on. It’s been a busy three months since the BALC began. Between snow days, stomach bugs, viruses, and just general “life” stuff, it has been interesting trying to find blocks of time to get everything put together. Boy am I glad I kept it simple…
So… without further ado… Here is my “line” (or the beginnings of it, anyway) for the challenge:
If you continue through the hop (and I really hope you will!) you will see a huge variety of styles. The amazing thing is that we all got the bulk of our components from one place. B’Sue Boutiques offers an amazing selection of Made-in-the-USA brass, as well as just about everything else you could want. I spend a LOT of time drooling over her site and her YouTube videos. Seriously.